Larry Bird is an all-time legend of the game, and there is no question that he is one of the greatest small forwards ever. He won three championships with the Boston Celtics and had many elite seasons with the team.
There is no doubt that Larry Bird, alongside Magic Johnson, revitalized the NBA in the 80s. In fact, Charles Barkley once claimed that the two are the "most important" figures in league history.
“Think about the NBA, we’re doing the 75th anniversary now. The two most important figures are Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. They saved the NBA. So those two guys to me are the most important people. And I love both of those guys for what they did for me and my family.”
Even without considering his impact on the game, most people would agree that Larry Bird has had one of the most dominant peaks of all time. Generally, Larry Bird is viewed as a top 10 player of all time.
Gilbert Arenas Claims Larry Bird Is Not A Top-10 Player Of All Time
Despite his talent, it seems as though some are not sold on Larry Bird. Gilbert Arenas has claimed that he would put point guard Stephen Curry over Larry Bird in his personal top 10 players of all time list. (1:45):
I'm going to put him (Curry) in the top-10 just off rip... figure it out from there.
“We’re trying to compare his [Curry] style to a style that is dinosaurish, you know what I mean? So when someone is like, ‘Well, how are you going to leave out like Larry Bird?’ Easy, easy, easy, like I can do that easy.”
Of course, Stephen Curry is one of the best point guards ever, and he has a great argument for being a top-10 player of all time after he won the 2022 championship. Curry has also won a unanimous MVP and multiple scoring titles. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that Larry Bird has to be removed in favor of him, as they can both be on the list.
It remains to be seen if Larry Bird will get more respect from people in the future. He wasn't a flashy player, but his style got the job done for the Boston Celtics at the highest level. There is no doubt that Larry Bird was an all-time great player, and he likely would have thrived in this modern era as well.